Father’s Nightmare

This is more a stream of consciousness rather than a coherent entry.  Sorry.

I came in this morning from shoveling yet more snow, grabbed some coffee and powered up Twitter to check in on Egypt.  In and amongst the chaos was a father’s nightmare, tweeted by a colleague in Cairo:

RT @BloggerSeif:  omg I have someones child, I have a child. 2 yrs max, green eyes, says his name mahmoud. Tweet it for me #jan25

For those that have missed it, the relatively peaceful demonstrations going on in Cairo and other parts of Egypt exploded this morning when pro-government forces attacked.  The protesters were largely unarmed, but the mob that attacked carried swords, knives, clubs and homemade bombs.  True chaos ensued.

(Quick disclaimer, I lived in Egypt for two years and still consider it my second home.  I have friends and people I consider family there who are being directly impacted by this.)

So, anyway.  What do you do when you read the above?  A family had gathered in Tahrir (Liberation) Square as so many others had.  Last night they were singing songs, telling stories, sharing meals, etc. when the curtain fell and the government’s true plan emerged. In the bedlam that followed, certainly people were going to be separated from each other.

I was in shock.  In all my fears and concerns for people there, I had never thought of the children.  Had this boy’s father been killed?  Was he off fighting to defend his child and his future?  Had he simply turned his back for a second and been swept away?

I know many people will think, ‘wait, who brings a child into something like that?’  But, remember, until yesterday, it was just a peaceful gathering in the middle of the Square and the future of Egypt, this boy’s country, was to be decided.  He could have been witness to one of the greatest days in his ancient country’s history.  The fact that it turned violent suddenly and there was little to no way to escape is not this man’s fault.

How many others will be orphaned in this struggle?  How many mothers and fathers will bury their sons and daughters in the coming days?  The dead will be called martyrs, heroes, and victims for their beliefs.  How many will there be?  Is more than one necessary?

The image: a child alone in a sea of people, violence all around, alone, frightened, probably crying.  I will lose sleep over this.

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